Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Jermaine Stewart - We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off

It's funny how capricious the charts can be.  While ERV is filled with one hit wonders, there are also some lesser-known bands who landed more than one top 40 hit -- as well as some great acts who never broke the top 40.  Apparently, the music gods have a sense of humor -- how else can you explain the fact that Roxy Music and the Psychedelic Furs are one hit wonders, while Chilliwack and Stacey Q aren't (they have 2 top 40 hits each).

At any rate, this brings us (in a roundabout way) to Jermaine Stewart.  Stewart got hist start as a Soul Train dancer before joining Shalamar as a backup dancer.  Touring with Shalamar led to a meeting with Culture Club's bass player, Mikey Craig, who helped Stewart put together a demo tape that helped him secure a recording contract.

The anthemic pop / funk smash, "We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off" was off Stewart's second album, 1986's Frantic Romantic.  The song was written by master songwriters Narada Michael Walden and Preston Glass.  Walden wrote or co-wrote (among other hits): "How Will I Know" and "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" (both with the songwriting team of Boy Meets Girl and both for Whitney Houston), along with songs for Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin.

"We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off" hit #5 on the charts, while the Frantic Romantic LP reached #34.  As savvy readers might have guessed from the introduction, Stewart had a second top 40 hit with "Say It Again" (#27) in 1987, as well as two songs that peaked just outside of the top 40 ("The Word Is Out," #41 and "Jody," #42).

Sadly, Jermaine Stewart died of an AIDS-related illness in 1997.  He was 39 years old.

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